30 Hours Equals Yearlong Emphasis and Life Long Change


Brian Mateer

Recycled calendarIf you’re like me, when I am selecting events for an already busy youth ministry calendar, I am looking for long term impact and experiences that I can draw from for future teaching and reflection. The ability to “connect the dots” from learning and experience to application and the real world is powerful. The thoughtful youth worker searches for opportunities to take these experiences and pull them back to the forefront of their students’ thoughts.

“Remember that time on the mission trip when…”

“This is just like that story in the bible…”

“I loved the game that taught us about…”

In the last two years our youth ministry, along with others in our community, started an outreach program to the homeless in our community.  On Sunday afternoons, teens take meals and other supplies to a local park to meet with people in need.  The ultimate goal of this ministry is to build relationships with our friends that attend and to learn their names, stories and situations, pray with them and help where we can.  This has been eye opening and a learning experience for all involved.

As we have begun to understand the needs in our community, I have realized that our outreach program and the 30 Hour Famine have worked to strengthen each other.  Spending a night in a box is an activity suggested in the Famine Leaders guide.  I can share a name and a story of someone who is forced to do that in our community.  Playing TRIBE that focuses on challenges some face for survival including:  food shortages, education, water, economic crisis, safety, basic needs, and crisis.  I have a story, name and face for each one of these challenges of someone in our community or someone we have met on a mission trip.  “He Fed 5000, Now It’s Your Turn” is the 2013 theme for 30 Hour Famine.  We understand that scripture and we have taken our turn feeding the people of Zimbabwe and the people of Martinsville, VA.  The 30 hour experience of feeling what is like to not eat is demonstrated in the numerous individuals that eat in our community park: They have not eaten for 30 hours plus because there is no community feeding program on Saturday.

30 Hours equals yearlong emphasis and lifelong impact.  Students and leaders are changed and lives of those in need are changed as a result.

“Do The Famine!”